On Friday, May 13, Hocus Pocus actress Bette Midler provoked uproar when remarking on the widespread infant formula scarcity in the United States. The 76-year-old was responding to a post by MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle, which sparked outrage on social media. Netizens are already criticizing the comic for making “insensitive” and “tone-deaf remarks.”
Stephanie Ruhle, an MSNBC presenter, tweeted about the shortage of infant formula on Thursday, May 12, alleging that it exposes a “incredible covert oligopoly.” She asserted that 3% of American firms control the bulk of the market, and that strict rules promoted by lobbying resulted in a shortage of infant formula sales. “Name another industry/sector/product like this,” she continued.
Bette Midler added her two cents to the current problem as the journalist remarked on it. She stated:
“EXPERIENCE BREASTFEEDING! It is both free and on demand.”
Bette Midler is being chastised on the internet for her tweet.
Unsurprisingly, the public reacted negatively to the stage and film star’s post. Many people have expressed concern that some moms do not produce enough milk to nourish their newborns. They also highlighted that some children have latching issues or that their parents may have adopted children, which makes nursing challenging. Some have also said that baby formula is useful for balancing workplace obligations for moms who find it difficult to feed their babies while working.
Bette Midler was chastised by many Twitter users. Among the tweets were:
The craziest thing about this week is discovering that I, a childless homosexual male with extremely limited exposure to such things, know more about breastfeeding than most men and also Bette Midler
— Tom and Lorenzo (@tomandlorenzo) May 13, 2022
Bette Midler is taking heat for her own “Let them eat cake” moment. On Twitter the Hocus Pocus actress offered her own magical solution to the nationwide baby formula shortage, tweeting that everyone could just ‘try breastfeeding.’ Typical rich, leftist dummycrap! She’s useless!
— Paul Munshower (@paul_munshower) May 14, 2022
Bette Midler addresses criticism
Within minutes of publishing her offensive tweet, the Ruthless People actress got backlash. After around 20 minutes, the actress, who is a mother herself, stressed that she did not want to condemn anyone who was unable to breastfeed for whatever reason. Her tweet is as follows:
People are piling on because of former tweet. No shame if you can’t breastfeed, but if you can & are somehow convinced that your own milk isn’t as good as a “scientifically researched product”, that’s something else again. The monopoly news is news to me, tho, no lie. #WETNURSES
— bettemidler (@BetteMidler) May 13, 2022
Breastfeeding, experts say, will not solve the formula shortage. Dr. Rebekah Diamon told NBC News that although most newborns can feed themselves with their mothers’ milk, some need the formula to supplement their nourishment. Furthermore, nursing mothers’ busy schedules and health problems often leave them with little time to pump milk during the workday. Allergies may make it difficult for new parents to produce enough milk for their infants.
The countrywide shortage of infant formula has reached 43%, with Tennessee, Delaware, and Texas reporting “out of stock” situations. The infant formula crisis began in February when one of America’s largest formula manufacturers disclosed that their facility had been polluted. It also led to the death of two newborns who ingested their goods. The manufacturing closure has resulted in a lack of infant formula as well as supply chain challenges, which were already prevalent due to the covid pandemic.